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How long can the Zombie Plan stumble on?

November 13, 2018 12:25 PM
By Tony Clayton, Sevenoaks Town Councillor.

Tony Clayton in Bayham Rd

The revolt of the entire Johnson family (Boris, Jo, sister Rachel, and dad Stanley) shows how much trouble the government's Brexit plan is in.

Jo Johnson represents Orpington, which like Sevenoaks was split down the middle at the 2016 referendum. Now he sees that the future on offer from the government's negotiations is so far from Leave promises that to enact it would be a travesty of democracy. A poorer and weaker Britain isn't what anyone wants.

Our MP's replies to his constituents who have written to him - expressing frustration but 'working for the smoothest possible exit' - show that he hasn't understood just how much disruption the PM's plan will bring. Leaving the single market and customs union means that exporting businesses here in Sevenoaks will suffer; some are already moving jobs to countries where they can continue to trade freely.

The PM's plan has turned into a zombie, never supported by the public, MPs, or even according to reports this week, many of the Cabinet, but stumbling on. By January, as the next electoral register comes in, the mandate to push it through will be a zombie too - as the third cohort of new young voters since 2016 get to have their say. That's more than enough to ensure that leaving Europe on 29th March would be against the wishes of the British people.

And the idea that this will all be over in April is a delusion. Whether the government gets its plan though Parliament or not - 'deal or no deal' - the shambles will continue, as it goes on fighting with itself. Britain's international negotiating position will be worse, and internal divisions will deepen.

All MPs must recognise that a departure from the EU so far from what was promised won't help democracy in the future. It can only undermine it.

Only the people can fix this. A vote on the real choice for Britain's future may be difficult but it's the only way.

Tony Clayton